Hillel has played a big role in my life. I met many of my best friends and my husband at Rutgers Hillel. The staff there was a constant source of support as we expressed ourselves with programmatic ideas and long conversations about who we were and what we believed.
When life circumstances moved me to the west coast, I was thrilled to get a job at Santa Barbara Hillel as the Development Associate. After working as a camp administrator for four years, I was excited to find a new opportunity. Development is an area I wanted to explore and Santa Barbara Hillel seemed to be a perfect fit.
I have worked at Santa Barbara Hillel since July 2012. In that time, I've learned many new things, including best fundraising practices and how to work with a lay-leadership board. I have also gained experience engaging alumni, parents, and community members with our organization. Through Hillel International, I was fortunate to be part of a development cohort and a mentorship program. Whenever I have a question, I know there are professionals I can turn to for constructive and helpful advice.
In addition to the support I receive from the greater Hillel community, my co-workers are a key part of why Santa Barbara Hillel is a great place to work. While we each have a distinct role, we support each other so that our projects are successful. Our staff works tirelessly to ensure that students are welcomed with open arms. Our students grow as leaders, engage in insightful discussions, spend time together socially, and celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays together.
In addition to providing for our students, Santa Barbara Hillel welcomes and encourages community members to be part of Hillel life. We invite them to join us for Shabbat dinners and we co-sponsor community programs. We’re blessed to be part of a community that is extremely supportive of the work we do. Our board is made up of 28 dedicated people who believe as I do that Hillel is worthwhile. I know my job would be impossibly difficult if not for our community’s dedication.
While my co-workers, our students, and the Santa Barbara community are terrific, I must say that the best part of my job is meeting one-on-one with alumni and community members. Each person I enjoy coffee with helps remind me that what we do every day is important. Many people have their own stories about why Hillel matters to them. I have yet to get tired of hearing about how Hillel has changed people’s lives. I know it has changed mine.
Jillian Juni is the Associate Director of Development at Santa Barbara Hillel, where she has worked since July 2012. Originally from New York, Jillian is now enjoying the constant sunshine, beautiful views, nice community, and fun students of Santa Barbara, CA.